Another wave of construction is coming to I-26 in Buncombe and Henderson Counties. The North Carolina Department of Transportation anounced on Wednesday the project to widen nearly 17 miles of I-26 from U.S. 64 in Hendersonville to Brevard Road in Asheville is getting underway. The expansion is part of a bigger construction project around the Brevard Road interchange.
Plans are to widen the interstate to four lanes in each direction from Brevard Road to U.S. 25 Business. The stretch from U.S. 25 Business to U.S. 64 will be widened to three lanes each way.
The project is divided into two sections:
- Section I-4400 is a 9.1-mile stretch that begins at U.S. 64 (Exit 49) in Hendersonville, and extends along I-26 west to N.C. 280 (Exit 40).
- Section I-4700 is a 7.8-mile stretch that extends along I-26 from N.C. 280 west to the I-40/240 interchange.
Construction is expected to begin over the next 30 days, although drivers in Buncombe County can expect to start seeing barriers, signs and traffic changes within the next 7 days.
NC DOT Engineer Brian Burch is overseeing the Henderson County portion of the project. Burch says contracts were just awarded and he expects construction won’t begin in Henderson County until November or December. “I’m encouraging everyone to be patient, “says Burch. “We’re still going to have 2-lanes of traffic in each direction, which we have today. They may be a little narrower, of course you’re going to have drums and barrels out there, and you are going to have equipment out there. You are going to have the tendency to want to see what’s going on. The best thing to do is to keep your eyes on the road and keep moving forward and not be the rubbernecker that causes an accident or causes congestion.”
Along with road widening, the bridge over I-26 on the Blue Ridge Parkway will be reconstructed. The new structure will be constructed next to the existing bridge allowing the parkway to stay open.
The total cost of the project is 534 million dollars and it is expected to be completed in 2024. You can find out more here.